European leaders point to Greek obligations
With the prospects for the formation of a viable government in Athens after elections on 6 May appearing very slim, the first reaction from Berlin and Brussels was to point out to the country's obligations towards the Eurozone.
Greek voters punished the two mainstream political parties, the socialist Pasok and the centre-right New Democracy, for bringing the country to this desperate situation and voted for extremists on both sides of the political spectrum.
New Democracy was voted first but got only 18.9% and 103 deputies in a house of 300. The once mighty socialist Pasok came third with 13.2% and 41 deputies. In this way, the much hoped for , in Brussels and Berlin at least, coalition government of Pasok-ND, is not possible. Simple arithmetic says that 103+41 do not make 151 seats in parliament needed to support a viable government.
On top of this on 7 May, Fotis Kouvelis, leader of the moderate left wing, pro-European party, Democratic Left with 8.5% of the votes and 19 deputies, said that his party is not going to participate in a possible ND-Pasok government coalition. Kouvelis presides over the only possible third party to join ND and Pasok in their effort to form a viable governmental scheme.
In view of that, the German minister of Foreign Affairs Guido Westerwelle appealed to the Greek political parties to honour their country's obligations towards the European Union and reduce the Greek public deficits.
He said, “we expect the formation of prudence government in Greece, with a clear European orientation”. He added that Berlin will discuss this possibility with Athens.
However, the leader of the German Greens, Juergen Tritin, commented that the electoral result in Greece “is a clear vote that Europe should not lose its social equilibrium” and added that “this was the end of Mercozi, a good day for Europe and a bad day for Merkel”.
From Brussels, though, the president of the European Parliament and leader of the socialist group, Martin Schulz, focused on Greece's obligation towards Europe. He said “the negotiations to form a government in Athens should have as a target the honouring of the country's obligations towards the European Union”. He added though that what is happening to Greece and other Eurozone countries is a clear indication that the EU needs, a new policy package to promote growth and jobs.